National Election Watch (NEW) team met with National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) team

(NCRA, Wednesday 3 February 2021) -The Chairperson of the National Election Watch (NEW) Mrs. Marcella Samba-Sesay and team met with the Director-General of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), Mohamed Mubashir MASSAQUOI to express concern over the seeming delay in the conduct of the planned nationwide confirmation of registrants’ personal details and the registration of the unregistered population resident in Sierra Leone. The meeting took place at the Authority’s Conference Room on Walpole Street, Freetown.

Mrs. Marcella Samba-Sesay – Chairperson, National Electoral Watch

In her submission, the Chairperson of NEW, Mrs. Marcella Samba-Sesay said that they as an institution that works on election and governance issues are very much concerned over what she called delay in the conduct of the NCRA proposed Confirmation and Registration exercise, adding that such delay has the potential to affect the work of other institutions especially the National Electoral Commission (NEW) who will soon need the NCRA data.

“For us as NEW, we put so much credence in the work of NCRA because our work borders on elections and governance and as it is, we value the data coming from the NCRA for various uses especially for elections purpose,” she expressed.

Mrs. Marcella Samba-Sesay stated that Covid-19 may not disappear soon and as a result, developmental oriented activities that are pivotal in the development and democratic process of this county have to continue. She appealed to the Government of Sierra Leone to provide the NCRA with the necessary support to ensure that the Confirmation and Registration exercise starts in earnest without further delay.

Mrs. Samba-Sesay also called on the Government of Sierra Leone to ensure that the Confirmation and Registration exercise is conducted simultaneously in all Districts across the country as opposed to the previous plan proposed to carry out the process by Regions.

Reverend James Albert Lahai – National Coordinator, NEW

Reverend James Albert Lahai, National Coordinator, NEW, said that the purpose of this short but very important meeting was for their institution to establish a common understanding with the NCRA and to know what are the bottlenecks hindering the confirmation and registration process.  He emphasized that the process is very much crucial to them than any other process. “For us the Confirmation and Registration process is far more important than any other processes that have just come from the blues,” he said.

The National Coordinator assured the DG that they as CSOs are ready and willing to sound the trumpet around the Confirmation process so that it gets the required attention it deserves.

Mohamed Mubashir MASSAQUOI – Director General, National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA)

In his response, the Director-General of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), Mohamed Mubashir MASSAQUOI expressed thanks and appreciation to the NEW leadership and team for taking civil registration, vital statistics and identity management issues as a priority. He thanked the team also for the visit and for expressing their concerns over what he called genuine and circumstantial delay of the proposed confirmation exercise. He informed the team that the NCRA has no reason to delay the exercise which as he said though constitutes their mandate, require stakeholder ownership and participation.  The NCRA Director General added that following the advice from NACOVERC and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, every effort will be made to ensure compliance with COVID-19 pandemic prevention measures during the exercise.  The DG informed NEW that the confirmation process is on course and that the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Finance remained committed to ensuring that the process is conducted as soon as possible and in line with the procedures earlier presented to stakeholders. He furthered that “Government’s commitment to supporting the process is strong, unwavering and unequivocal.”

He also informed the NEW team that NCRA through the Ministry of Finance has appealed to Government to consider the recommendations from the November 2020 stakeholder meeting that comprised Political Parties and CSOs for the exercise to be done simultaneously across the country as well as adding to the period of the exercise, an appeal he said was being looked into but when confirmed, would be communicated to all and sundry. He hastened to remind the NEW delegation that despite the COVID pandemic, NCRA offices remained opened across the country providing CRVS services to the public with support from Government and its Partners as the recording and management of vital events is a priority for the New Direction Government of His Excellency, President Bio.

Mr. MASSAQUOI assured NEW that the confirmation process will kick-start as soon as possible and completed soon enough, without compromising thoroughness, quality, procedure and standards.

He therefore implored the NEW to be patient and continue to educate the public on issues in a positive manner that would guarantee the confidence the public has in the system.


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